1. Eat well. Your diet is the number one means by which you can build your immune system. It is a bit more challenging in the fall and winter without the abundant summer produce, but there are still plenty of vegetables and fruits that are available in the fall and winter. Broccoli, greens, citrus fruits, and squash are just a few. Frozen vegetables and fruits are a healthy option, too.
2. Make sure good bacteria, or probiotics are a part of your diet. You can also supplement with probiotics if possible, and they can be found in most drug stores and department stores who carry a good supply of vitamins and other supplements. Yogurt, miso, and other foods with “live and active cultures” help keep you immune system in top shape. Those good bacteria are key components of your immune system, attacking and destroying pathogens.
3. Echinacea is a time-honored herb that boosts the immune system. It’s also quite well-known, but don’t let that stop you from trying it. Echinacea should not be taken all the time, however – it loses its effectiveness after a few weeks. The best way to give your immune system a lift with echinacea is right at the onset of cold symptoms, or after you have been exposed to someone who is sick. Then take it for no more than a week or two. Look for echinacea supplements or tinctures that are made from the root or the root and aerial parts combined. For the best results from echinacea, you should get the combination of echinacea and Golden Seal. I have found from personal use that just echinacea is okay, but doesn’t really give that much protection or make it go away that much faster. With the combination of echinacea-golden seal I found that I had much better protection and it worked much better in both fighting of the colds and flu and protection against them and getting over them much quicker if I did get one. It is a good way for boosting your immune system.
4. Astragalus is a lesser-known but very effective immune-enhancing herb. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It is particularly effective against flu. You can take astragalus throughout the fall and winter months, or when you feel symptoms coming on. The sliced root simmered in water is the traditional Chinese way to take this herb, but it is also available in tinctures and capsules as supplements.
5. Ginger is an herb you probably have in your kitchen. Dried will do, but fresh ginger root is even better. Ginger is affordable and has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Grate a tablespoon or two, pour boiling water over the grated ginger, steep for 10 minutes, and enjoy with a little raw honey. You can drink ginger daily if you like.
6. Garlic is another common kitchen herb that helps stave off colds and flu. If you are familiar with “garlic breath” then you know that this potent herb likes to reside and release its active compounds in the respiratory tract – right where you need it during the season. Garlic supplements and fresh garlic are both effective.
7. Flu shots are another way to ward off the flu at least. Flu shots are highly available this year and they are having clinics just about everywhere. For more information about flu shots or locations, see our article Get Your Flu Shots and Find Flu Shot Locations. Obviously, this isn’t in line with the rest of the defenses, but it offers good protection, especially those whom are prone to catching it and at high risk or if you live with or care for someone who is at high risk.
We hope that Cold and Flu Season is Here Boosting Your Immune System to Fight off those nasty bugs gives you and your family extra protection this winter and that you stay healthier.